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Ya Know When "That Line" Pops Into Your Head?


Elias Graves

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I was thinking similar thoughts just moments ago so I decided to check out this forum and this thread was the first thing I saw so I have to reply for synchronicity's sake alone.

 

My issue is feeling a "melody" so deeply it is completely overwhelming, but not being able to express it outside my head to my satisfaction. I say "melody" because it's more than a label, it's melody, rhythm, timbre...a deep expression that I feel in the gut or possible at even the DNA level.

And every time I try to express it with an instrument it immediately disappears. This is my curse. I can usually get the basic rhythm out but after a moment of trying to figure out the notes, all is lost. Or if I try to sing it, my voice is far from pitch perfect and it just comes out wrong. If I do manage to somehow get the basic rhythm and notes, it lacks the little timing nuances and is still so far away from that deep expressionistic entity that I was completely absorbed with moments before.

 

I think I need to dig a tunnel. A direct route from my brain to audible reality, bypassing the burdensome middleman of logical thinking. And I think the only way to do this is to keep transcribing my brain, and one day brain and sound will match to my satisfaction.

 

I'm not sure if this is the kind of thing you had in mind but it felt good to get it out. :)

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My issue is feeling a "melody" so deeply it is completely overwhelming, but not being able to express it outside my head to my satisfaction.

 

 

Oh yeah... same thing, isn't it? Something calling from inside wanting to get out. My little digital recorder and my voice are the most direct connection to that. Usually driving and there I am humming a fully fleshed out melody that's just freely flowing. I highly recommend keeping a little recorder around. In the car, in the office...

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Getting it out of you is the challenge. Translating perfection into words and music is, borrowing the bridge, a chasm to cross. Hence the agonizing joy.

 

My line is pretty simple today, but it's hung with me for a bit now.

"The scene outside her window never changes"

 

"The never ending footsteps of the strangers" seems to want to be there as well.

Along with "Sentinal...dangers."

 

Who knows. I'll play with this one today, I'm sure.

 

How's things, Lee?

 

EG

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MadPsyance, you're lucky that you feel those melodic inspirations so strongly. It sounds like you're sort of getting them down, even if it's far from satisfyingly so -- but that's an important toe hold.

 

No matter how long you've been playing music, you can expand your skill set -- and sometimes you may be surprised at how readily it comes -- once you get past a few sticking points. Lots of folks have different strategies.

 

A lot of us (particularly those of us who are less than facile with written notation -- and that would be me, bigtime ;) ) keep a small recorder handy (many or most mobile phones now have some kind of voice recorder/memo function -- the fi is usually abysmal but it's often enough to capture a fleeting inspiration on the fly).

 

The key, as you sense, is being able to capture as much as you can and then refine it. But it sounds like you're getting frustrated at that point.

 

As someone who pretty well grew up frustrated (in so many ways but let's not get seamy), particularly with regard to catching the firefly of inspiration in the glass jar of the ability to express that inspiration (pardon the clumsy metaphor, I'm still operating on a caffeine deficit this rainy a.m.), I can easily empathize with that frustration -- and, well, you know, it seldom goes all the way away -- but if you keep working at the process, you can get good -- and fast -- enough at it to capture a lot of that inspiration.

 

It requires a certain amount of ability to quiet one's inner monologues and let the inspiration speak, but also the acquired knowledge and discipline of being able to simultaneously listen to that inspiration and get it into some form that can be recorded or transcribed in such a way to capture as much as possible so that you can then, when the white hot of inspiration has cooled, work to refine and extend what you have...

 

If that sounds vague and tricky -- well, you bet. It is. So don't let yourself get too frustrated. It's part of the course most of us must follow. It's seldom easy -- especially not early in the game -- but it gets easier, even though it's a process that probably never gets automatic or perfect.

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Can those heartstrings be both loose and tangled?

 

Maybe that paradox is the way forward with that metaphor. Or maybe it's a road sign saying cliff ahead. ;)

 

 

BTW... anyone know what the origin of heartstrings is? Is it a marionette puppeteer expression? (If so, I'm not sure what those heartstrings would do if pulled... any puppeteers in the house?)

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I have no idea if they can be both tattered and tangled. It kinda came to me that way.

I generally take a fairly structured approach to my writing...too many fiction classes perhaps. I plan the story then work the words to tell the tale. Seldom do I find myself with jsut a nice line that begs for attention. This is unfamiliar space for me attempting to find a meaning centered upon a single line.

Perhaps it's a sign of growth. I'll tell myself that, anyway. ;)

 

Manipulating that internal song into reality is certainly a challenge for me. It takes many false starts and misdirections for me to make it sound OUT THERE the way it sounds IN HERE. But I keep trying.

 

EG

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One of those just happened to me just yesterday. The main melody of the song and the vocal parts were already composed in large part. Many times I wait until all the music stuff is complete before I tackle lyrics. This time I couldn't ignore it when the first line hit me over the head.

 

After having to deal with a particularly difficult issue recently, this happened:

 

"Lord, it's hopeless but I have to crawl"

 

Followed by:

 

"To where the poems take form at night"

 

Then:

 

"And the songs barter with angels for wings"

 

"As they try"

"To convince"

"The stars to shine"

"A little brighter"

 

"But on the other hand"

"It's foolish to believe"

"That a man like me could..."

 

(To be continued...)

 

I feel that I'm at my best lyrically when I don't try to write good lyrics so much as try to capture a sense of open, unguarded dialogue.

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